Penile Atrophy: Why is my penis getting smaller and thinner?


Do you know what the average penis size is? And when can we consider that a man has penile atrophy? This is what you will discover today in this blog.

There are many studies that estimate average penis size, including a recently released one entitled “Average-Size Erect Penis: Fiction, Fact, and the Need for Counseling” published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy and authored by Bruce M. King, from the Department of Psychology at Clemson University, in South Carolina (United States).

He evaluated 21 published studies on penile size, and came to the conclusion that the world average for penis size is around 12.9 centimeters when erect.

The size of the flaccid penis is not related to the size it reaches when erect, since, in the flaccid state, it varies according to the amount of blood present inside the member at that moment. That's why in a cooler environment the flaccid penis tends to be more retracted.

However, that doesn't mean you have a shrinking penis.Penile atrophy is related to some conditions, but it can be resolved. Check it out below.


Why is my penis atrophying?

In general, we can say that the penis atrophies when there is a condition of fibrosis.

Fibrosis can appear with age, or when the man has comorbidities, as in the examples below: 


Diabetes Mellitus:

Diabetes is related to an increase in the amount of sugars in the blood. The lack of control of these rates causes damage to the functioning of blood vessels and nerves. This will consequently cause Erectile Dysfunction.



Obesity alters the proper functioning of hormones and, consequently, makes nighttime erections difficult. In addition, this condition interferes with blood irrigation in the cavernous bodies and predisposes to the appearance of fibrosis.

Regardless of the appearance of fibrosis, due to the fat in the pelvic region, obesity can embed the penis and reduce its functional size.  


Radical Prostatectomy or Prostate Surgery

After a radical prostatectomy (radical prostate surgery to fight cancer) is performed, a man will also have fewer erections overnight. The lower oxygenation and reduced blood flow can facilitate the appearance of fibrosis. 


Cardiovascular Problems

Cardiovascular problems can also be responsible for the penis to lose size, as they decrease the blood supply inside the member.


Peyronie's disease

When the patient acquires Peyronie's Disease, has erectile dysfunction or suffers a penile fracture, which generates a scarring response at the site, there is also a greater chance of developing penile fibrosis. 

All these conditions tend to generate penile fibrosis to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the amount of fibrosis that the penis has developed throughout life.


Penile atrophy and prosthesis

Most patients who need a penile implant also come to the urologist's office with some level of penile atrophy. 

However, it is necessary to understand that the prosthesis does not increase the size of the penis. The main purpose of the penile prosthesis is to give firmness to the penis so that the man can resume sexual activity.

Regarding size, it is essential to carry out an analysis to detect if there is, in fact, an atrophy. If there is, we have to talk about penis size expansion

This expansion occurs to the limit of the nerves and vessels. The penis does not always return to the size it always had, but with reconstruction, it is possible to make it bigger than the atrophied situation in which it finds itself.

Nerves and vessels, over time, can naturally shrink throughout life. Or, if the patient has already undergone surgery at the site before, the possibility of recovery also decreases.


How to lengthen the size of atrophied penis?

What is the possible limit for penis size expansion? 

There is a set of nerves and vessels that pass over the penis and reach the glans that will determine how far the surgeon can go.

Tissues located below the nerves can be treated to expand, following the boundary of the nerves and vessels. This tissue expansion aims to elongate the dimensions of the penis and applies to atrophied limbs, thin penis and/or penis with tortuosity.

It is not possible to know in advance how far the nerves, vessels and tissues will reach. This will only be possible to identify during the surgery. A surgeon who works in accordance with the Sociedade Brasileira de Urologia (Brazilian Society of Urology) can never promise a final size to the patient.

It is very important for the patient to understand this limitation to prevent frustrations and also to avoid doctors who are committed to results in the preoperative stage.

The fundamental thing is that the surgeon who will perform the surgery reaches the limit possible, and does not stop before reaching it. In this second scenario, it will not be possible to recover the atrophied penis.

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To learn more about the work developed at the clinic by Dr. Paulo, check out:

Dr. Paulo Egydio

MD, PhD, Dedicado no Tratamento da Doença de Peyronie, Pênis Curvo e Implante de Próteses Penianas. Doutor em Urologia pela USP, CRM 67482, RQE 19514. - Vencedor do Debate do Sobrevivente da AUA em 2019.

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